Man Utd ‘leading race’ for £50m Bayer Leverkusen striker Kai Havertz

Manchester United are leading the race for Bayer Leverkusen wonder kid Kai Havertz.

The German is one of the hottest properties in Europe after a stellar season at the BayArena.

Havertz has picked up where he left off following the resumption of the Bundesliga with five goals in four games.

It take his tally to 15 for the season meaning Leverkusen are poised to have several of the continent's heavyweights eyeing up the 20-year-old.

United are keen on adding young talent and see Havertz as the perfect player to help them return to the summit of English football, reports The Sun.

Jadon Sancho is already a top target but they could now eye a double Bundesliga raid and open the bidding for Havertz at £50m.

Leverkusen are likely to demand more than that for their prized asset who has also been linked with Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Havertz is able to play in an array of attacking positions which makes him a valuable option.

But German great Michael Ballack has urged him to remain at Leverkusen due to the relaxed environment on offer.

"Players with his quality are in demand everywhere, but I think he's in good hands in Leverkusen," he told SportBild.

"The general conditions there are perfect for top young players and their further development. Leverkusen play attractive football, the training opportunities are very good. Leverkusen also offers a cautious environment.

"As a player [at Leverkusen] you can sometimes make mistakes without being the focus of criticism – you should appreciate that.

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Fernandes and Pogba showing ‘winning desire’ during Man Utd’s training return

Manchester United pair Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba have both showed a "winning desire" since returning to training claims Luke Shaw.

Much has been made about the dynamics between the Portuguese midfielder and United's record signing.

Fernandes has hit the ground running since arriving in January with his attitude coming in for particular praise.

Whereas it has been the opposite for Pogba who has been criticised for how he and his agent have conducted themselves at times this term.

But as Premier League clubs begin preparing for the season to restart Shaw has spoken highly of how both midfielders have acted in training.

He told the club's website : "On Tuesday we saw the group of Paul, Bruno, Angel and Nemanja, and those four are looking very strong and very good.

"There was a lot of competition and shouting going on in that group. It’s clear that everyone’s still got that winning desire, even in training. We’ve missed that."

Fernandes has scored three times for United since joining and been hugely influential.

So much so that some believe his quality could help the Red Devils cope were they to sell Pogba.

But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has regularly defended the Frenchman, is excited about the two teaming up.

"Good players can always play together, so definitely, they can – it's a big yes," he said when asked whether they could link up effectively.

"I think it's exciting… we do have an exciting squad. I've got Scott (McTominay), Fred, Nemanja (Matic).

"There's many games coming up and I'm sure we can find a good connection between them. We've been discussing that as a coaching team of course, and we're looking forward to it."

Pogba has only made six starts this season for United with the most recent coming in December.

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Bruno Fernandes selects which Man Utd teammate he would self-isolate with

Bruno Fernandes says if he forced to self-isolate with one of his Man Utd teammates he would pick Juan Mata – purely because the Spaniard always sings to him.

United's new arrival has quickly endeared himself to the rest of the Red Devils' squad since signing from Sporting Lisbon in January, but has developed noticeably strong relationships with the club's Spanish and Portuguese contigent.

He regularly spends time with fellow compatriot Diogo Dalot, while he is also close with goalkeeper David de Gea.

But of all his new colleagues, it is Mata who has made the greatest impression on him with his musical talents.

Asked who he would self-isolate with, Fernandes told Manchester United's official website : "I would choose Juan, because if I isolate with Juan I can listen to my song all day, every day! He always sings it to me!

"It’s not the atmosphere of Old Trafford, but Juan is the kind of guy who puts all his heart in the song, so when he sings the music for me is really nice!

"Normally I arrive before him, and he comes at breakfast, gives me his hand and starts to sing the song – Bruno, Bruno, Bruno!"

Mata of course is not the only man signing Fernandes' name around Manchester, given the song has been circulating Old Trafford pretty much since the day he pulled on a red shirt.

The midfielder has made a significant impact at United already, helping to bring a feel good factor back to the club.

But he is not resting on his laurels, and has already been putting in extra training sessions following lockdown.

Fernandes and Dalot were both put through their paces by a local football coaching company in Manchester this week as the pair ramp up preparations for the proposed restart.

And while Fernandes is now keen to get back out on the pitch, he admitted the break did have some positives with regards to his homelife.

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New Man Utd away kit for 2020/21 season leaked ahead of proposed launch date

Manchester United's new away kit for next season has been leaked online ahead of its official unveiling.

The latest strip designed by Adidas was due to be launched later this month and made available to fans in the coming months.

The kit is described as 'legacy green' and has a pattern emblazoned across the shirt.

It will replace the current away kit at the end of the season and will be used throughout the entirety of the 2020/21 campaign.

The kit will be the first item of the new range of merchandise being released by United in the coming months.

Adidas have seemingly taken a play safe approach to the new strip, opting for simplicity over any bold, imaginative designs.

Previously leaked images suggested kit makers were toying with colouring the club crest and Adidas logo orange, though latest pictures show they've stuck with white.

One player who may not get the chance to don the strip is striker Odion Ighalo, who could leave Man Utd as early as next week, according to reports.

The Nigerian star's loan concludes at the end of May, and parent club Shanghai Shenhua want Ighalo to report back to China for pre-season training.

Ighalo was only due to stay until the end of this season anyway, and United were hopeful of securing an extension to his loan to combat the delay in the season.

However it is also believed that United were considering a permanent deal for Ighalo following his impressive performances in attack.

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Silvestre recalls ‘crazy Pizzagate’ incident between Man Utd and Arsenal

Mikael Silvestre has recalled how Sir Alex Ferguson was left "fuming" following the "crazy" row between Man Utd and Arsenal players infamously dubbed 'Pizzagate'.

There was no love lost between the sides in the early noughties following years of fierce title battles.

But the rivalry spilled off the pitch and down the tunnel during a clash at Old Trafford in 2004.

Arsenal had headed into the fixture unbeaten in a record 49 games domestically, but United earned a 2-0 win, which sparked a fiery post-match brawl.

"We beat Arsenal to end their unbeaten run," Silvestre said, speaking to FourFourTwo magazine. "We were like, ‘There is no way that they are going to make it 50 at Old Trafford. No chance.’

"That was a huge motivation for us. The aftermath of that game was crazy, with pizza flying and everyone pushing and insulting each other in the tunnel.

"The stewards and security guards ended up having to separate everyone. It wasn’t a very good moment. You want to fight on the pitch, but in a football fight, not a fist fight! Sometimes, tempers go far beyond the football pitch."

Tempers had flared during the match itself, with Rio Ferdinand and Ruud van Nistelrooy both escaping without punishment following nasty fouls on Arsenal's stars.

United's Wayne Rooney also won a controversial penalty after going down in the box from a Sol Campbell challenge, which van Nistelrooy duly converted.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was later fined for branding van Nistelrooy a "cheat", but it was the episode down the tunnel which proved the real talking point.

"With the pizza, it was just thrown over a group of guys pushing each other and landed on Ferguson. He was absolutely fuming about it," Silvestre added.

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Man Utd sue Football Manager makers over use of club’s name in game

Manchester United have launched a law suit against the makers of popular video game Football Manager over use of the club's name.

Sega Publishing and Sports Interactive (SI) collaborate to release a new version of the football management simulator each year.

United have now decided to take legal action against both companies for using their name "extensively throughout the game".

The club are also arguing that their trademark has been infringed on the game due to the use of an unofficial crest to represent them.

Rather than United's official logo, next to their name is a basic red and white striped crest.

Sega and SI say the use of the club's name is "a legitimate reference to the Manchester United football team in a football context" and has been used in Football Manager and its predecessor, Championship Manager, since 1992 "without complaint by the claimant".

The companies have accused the club of trying to "prevent legitimate competition in the video games field by preventing parties not licensed by the claimant from using the name of the Manchester United football team within such games".

At a preliminary remote hearing on Friday, Manchester United's barrister Simon Malynicz QC said "the name 'Manchester United' is one of the world's most valuable and recognised brands".

He said the money clubs make from licensing their names and logos is "very significant" and "the products and services that are licensed by the claimant benefit from an association with the club's winning culture and its brand values".

Mr Malynicz argued, in relation to the alleged infringement of the trademark on Man United's logo, that "consumers expect to see the club crest next to the name Manchester United … and this failure to do so amounts to wrongful use".

He accepted this argument is "somewhat novel, and certainly in the context of video games, but it is certainly arguable".

The barrister asked Mr Justice Morgan to allow the club to amend their claim against Sega and SI to include allegations involving "the practice of supplying 'patches' or 'mods', essentially downloadable files containing replica trademarks, which consumers then incorporate into the game".

Mr Malynicz argued Sega and SI "encouraged" the use of patches supplied by third parties "by promoting the patch providers in various ways and, of course, they directly benefited from it by avoiding the need to take any licence and enjoying increased sales of their game".

Roger Wyand QC, representing the defendants, opposed the club's application to amend their claim.

In their written defence to Man United's claim, Sega and SI said: "The claimant has acquiesced in the use by the defendants of the name of the Manchester United football team in the Football Manager game and cannot now complain of such use."

Mr Wyand argued the "simplified" club badge used in the game is "one of 14 generic logo templates that is randomly chosen by the Football Manager game engine each time a new game is started" and "clearly indicates that the use of the (logo of) Manchester United is not licensed by the claimant".

Sega and SI said preventing them using Manchester United's name "would amount to an unreasonable restraint on the right to freedom of expression to restrain the use of the words 'Manchester United' to refer to a team in a computer game".

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Man Utd to pay Glazers another £11million despite debt rise to £429.1m

Manchester United will pay £11million in dividends to its owners, the Glazer family, next month, despite the latest financial results revealing that the club's net debt has jumped to £429.1million.

United's latest quarterly accounts showed a debt increase of £127.4million, a 42.2 per cent jump.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward also disclosed that the club is withdrawing its previous revenue predictions for the year – £560-£580m – due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The club also confirmed on Thursday that they expect to have to pay a £20million rebate to the Premier League broadcast rights holders due to the fixture schedule being halted during the shutdown.

Woodward declared that the current global crisis is proving "one of the most extraordinary and testing periods in the 142-year history," of the 20-time English champions.

However, last year's club accounts revealed that the Glazers stood to undertake two dividends in 2020 of almost £11million each.

The first was taken out in January.

Now, as revealed by ESPN, the second will be taken out on June 3.

That payment is due to go ahead as planned, having been confirmed to United shareholders on February 25 – prior to the suspension of the Premier League and most major sporting leagues across the globe.

On that date, Manchester United PLC were trading at $18.04 per share. Having fallen to as low as $12.55 per share on March 18 – five days after their last match, against LASK in the Europa League – they opened May 22 at $15.86 per share.

It is not in United's long-term interest to not pay the Glazers' dividend however. That February 25 confirmation duly acts as a legally binding agreement and could potentially undermine investor trust if the parent company reneged.

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Rio Ferdinand lifts lid on disagreements with ex-boss David Moyes at Man Utd

Rio Ferdinand has denied David Moyes ever showed him videos of Phil Jagielka to study, but did admit to having regular disagreements with the Scot during his ill-fated spell as Man Utd manager.

Moyes took over the reins from Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of the 2012/13 season, by which point Ferdinand was in his twilight years at Old Trafford.

In fact the defender only lasted another year following Fergie's departure, but that was still longer than Moyes, who was sacked after just 10 months in charge.

Ferdinand slammed Moyes' management style just months after both had moved on from the club, labelling his tactical approach "embarrassing".

In comments made in his autobiography #2sides, Ferdinand had added: "Unintentionally, he created a negative vibe where, with Fergie, it had always been positive. He'd slowly lost us. I didn't enjoy playing under him."

Since then Ferdinand has been openly critical about Moyes' efforts to teach him how to defend, with speculation suggesting the ex-Everton boss used videos of Toffees centre-back Jagielka as an example (Ferdinand had been playing ahead of Jagielka for England for over a decade).

Addressing the rumours, Ferdinand told the BBC: "I don't know where that came from to be honest, that's something that never happened.

“Listen, Phil Jagielka was a very good player. I'm sure he wouldn't have shown us videos of Phil of how we should be doing this and that, but I don't know where that came from. That's just some mad tale that's come out of nowhere.

“Someone has dreamed that up and it's become a great meme.”

Adding of his relationship with Moyes, Ferdinand continued: "To be fair, we did have some heated discussions if I'm being honest. There were a few heated meetings between myself, Vida [Nemanja Vidic] and David Moyes.

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Wayne Rooney on Louis van Gaal’s reaction to Fight Club-style video

Wayne Rooney has revealed he was shocked by Louis van Gaal's reaction to a viral clip of him being knocked down in a 'Fight Club'-style boxing session.

Rooney was expecting a rollicking after he was filmed boxing with his former Manchester United teammate Phil Bardsley in the Stoke City player's kitchen – in a scene reminiscent of the 1999 film.

In the footage, Rooney was caught by a blow from Bardsley and appeared to have been knocked out.

It was the kind of behaviour off the pitch that Van Gaal had tried to curb by making Rooney captain when he took over as United manager in 2014.

Van Gaal has admitted the move didn't work as planned – and the video clip less than a year later was a perfect example.

And Rooney – now a player-coach at Derby County – has admitted the manager's response took him by surprise.

"Look, sometimes I want to get away from football," said Rooney in a new book, LVG – The Manager and the Total Person’ , which has just been published in Holland.

"If we have a few days off, I like to go to a mate’s house and we drink and we put boxing gloves on.

“Though when that clip went viral I thought, ‘Jesus, I’d better tell the manager’.

“But when I walked into the manager’s office as soon as he saw me, he burst out laughing.

"It was totally not a problem for him. The media made it much bigger, but Louis just laughed.”

In the book, Van Gaal reveals how he made England striker Rooney his captain when he arrived in Manchester in a bid to improve Rooney’s ­behaviour off the pitch.

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Man Utd’s promise to Jude Bellingham in transfer battle with Borussia Dortmund

Manchester United are hopeful of persuading Jude Bellingham to put pen to paper at Old Trafford by promising the youngster an immediate first-team role.

The Birmingham City starlet is weighing up offers from both United and Borussia Dortmund, with the German club believed to be winning the race.

Bellingham feels he has more chance to develop at Dortmund, who have a proven track record of improving young stars, such as Jadon Sancho.

However United are confident they can edge out Dortmund by giving Bellingham an opportunity to make his mark from the off.

According to the Evening Standard, the 16-year-old would be fast-tracked straight into the senior set-up under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should he complete a switch to the Red Devils.

United are adopting a clear transfer strategy of targeting talented youth stars, and have identified two more players who are expected to join in the coming months.

Sunderland striker Joe Hugill and Barcelona defender Marc Jurado (both 16), are tipped to sign for United, but both will be kept in the academy ranks for the timebeing.

United are said to have agreed a £1.5million fee for Jurado, while Hugill would likely cost only a compensation fee to Sunderland for training the player under the Elite Player Performance Programme.

Those amounts will pale in comparison to the fee Birmingham are demanding for Bellingham's transfer, with their asking price set at £30m.

That is still seen as a wise investment by United chiefs, as Bellingham is regarded as one of the brightest stars of his generation.

Ed Woodward has been orchestrating an overhaul of the club's recruitment processes, with United scouts now urged to seek out promising talent whom can be acquired for more modest fees with a view to saving money on transfers in the long term.

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